Credit For Kids

Residents can better education while earning a tax write-off

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Rim Country residents generously supported area students with nearly $300,000 in contributions to Arizona's Credit for Kids program in 2005.

Credit for Kids, created in 1997, allows single taxpayers to donate $200 or married, joint filers to donate $400 before Dec. 31 to the school or after-school program of their choice. Then, the filer may take the donation as a credit on his or her state income taxes.

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Credit for Kids money will help the Modern Choir at Payson High School enjoy a "once in a lifetime opportunity" to sing at Carnegie Hall with the New England Symphony Orchestra. Lacey York and Kori Phylow get ready to perform.

"I am so grateful for people who give to the Credit for Kids program at Payson High School or any school," said PHS music teacher Larry Potvin.

"This is absolutely an investment in the future," said Payson Unified School District Superintendent Sue Myers. "The other exciting thing is that it is the one time you can tell your legislators exactly where you want your tax dollars to go."

Any amount is welcome and one does not have to have a student in school to donate to Credit for Kids.

New for PUSD in 2006 is the Fine Arts Fund, established for major acquisitions an co-curricular activities in music, drama and art.

"Ninety percent of the funds that come in are not earmarked for a particular activity," said Will Dunman, principal at Payson Elementary School.

Designations to a certain school are used for that school.

Funds that are designated by the taxpayer for a particular school's program -- such as the stadium project at Payson High School, field trips at Center for Success or after school activities at the elementary schools -- are used exclusively for that program.

The ongoing Stadium project at PHS began eight years ago with Credit for Kids money. Initially, the money was used to purchase new stands. Then, it was used to put in an all-weather track. Fields were upgraded with Credit for Kids dollars. Now, the all-weather track is due for an upgrade.

The Stadium project helps more than just its primary user. Middle and elementary students and Payson Parks and Recreation have used the field for events.

In fact, according to Potvin, a bigger track and could bring state marching band contests to the town. Those band students and their families would spend money in Payson on meals and lodging, adding dollars to the local economy.

"But other programs are in desperate need of funds," Potvin said.

For instance, it is tough for rural school bands to compete against schools of similar enrollment in the Valley because Valley schools have more money and newer equipment.

The two-decade-old band equipment and uniforms are at the end of their life at PHS and are in need of replacement.

Center for Success relies completely on Credit for Kids money to fund its career and cultural field trips.

"Our biggest goal this year is taking 30 students to Washington, D.C. in March," said the Center's principal, Kathe Ketchem. Math, reading social studies and history assignments in class are part of the $1,200 per student trip.

Frontier Elementary School has used its Credit for Kids money to fund two of the three teacher salaries in its music program -- choir, string and band.

Wolf Impressions, FES's after school arts program runs in fall and spring when there is money to pay for teachers and materials.

After school academic clubs and sports programs at Rim Country Middle School, Julia Randall and Payson elementary schools have similar needs for funding.

PUSD has a district goal of $300,000, which is $62,000 more than was donated last year.

Pine-Strawberry and Tonto Basin have their own school districts and their own set of goals.

"We were so fortunate to get the $56,000 last year and we would feel fortunate to receive or surpass that this year," said Mike Clark, principal of the Pine-Strawberry School.

Third- and fourth-graders at Pine/Strawberry elementary hope to go to Montezuma's Castle and other archaeological field trips.

With Credit for Kids money, they could buy books for the library club, replace sports equipment or add artificial turf to make the athletic field multipurpose.

Tonto Basin student athletes currently play on a dirt field.

We hope to modernize it by installing artificial turf and add new playground equipment, said principal John Ketchem.

"We also want everyone to know that you do not need to be a resident of Tonto Basin to contribute to Tonto Basin Elementary School," he said.

There is also a tax credit available to people who wish to contribute to Payson Community Christian School.

The law allows a married couple filing jointly to make a donation to the Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization, Inc. of up to $825. Single taxpayers may contribute up to $500.

Checks should be made payable to Credit for Kids and can be placed in APS drop boxes at Payson Town Hall. Indicate in the memo line of the check where you would like the funds to be used.

School needs/wants

Tonto Basin Elementary School

(928) 479- 2490

Student clubs

Academic enrichment programs

After-school tutoring

Student leadership programs

Student council during and after school

Educational field trips

Athletic programs.

Athletic field and playground

Rim Country Middle School

(928) 474-4511

Sports:

Cross country

Wrestling

Track

Football

Basketball

Volleyball

Softball

Fine Arts:

Band

Choir

Art

Strings

Junior Thespian Troupe

Student Leadership

Field Trips:

Colorado Float Trip

Music Field Trips

Positive Behavior Program:

Power Day

Assemblies:

Physical Fitness Awareness

Jump Rope Assembly

Clubs:

Builder's Club

Outdoor Adventure Club

FCCLA (homemaking arts)

Future Business Leaders of America

Academic League

Payson Unified School District

(928) 474-2070

Fine Arts Fund:

Musical instruments

District accompanist

Improved auditorium lighting

Good pianos at each school

Cultural trips

Stadium project

Frontier Elementary School

(928) 472-2052

After-school program

Field trips

Music and musical instruments

Assemblies

Center for Success

(928) 472-2011

Career field trips

Washington, D.C. field trip

Cultural field trips

Payson Elementary School

(928) 474-5882

Academic intervention

Enrichment programs

Science and cultural field trips

Individualized student instruction in computer

Materials for after-school programs

Band and string programs

Julia Randall Elementary School

(928) 474-2353

Choir/Band

After-school program

Pine-Strawberry Elementary

(928) 476-3583

Athletic/multipurpose field development

Library club

Field trips

Sports equipment

Student clubs

Fine arts programs

Student leadership programs

Physical education programs

Academic enrichment programs

Payson High School

(928) 474-2233

A+ Club

Achievement Club

Art

Band/Band uniforms and instruction

Baseball

Boys/girls basketball

Boys/girls soccer

Cheerleaders

Chorus/choir

Culinary arts

Drama

Future Business Leaders of America

FCCLA -- Strive

Future Farmers of America

Fitness Factor

Football

Golf

Hands Across the Border

Key Club

Math

National Honor Society

PHS Fine Arts

PHS Interact

Students Against Destructive Decisions

Ski and hike

Softball

Special ed/CBI

Speech and Debate

Ports uniforms and equipment

Strings

Student council

Track

Vica

Volleyball

Wrestlerettes/Wrestling

Wood shop

Shelby School

(928) 478-4706

Fine arts building renovation

Art supplies

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